This week, we welcomed eight young Amish men and two sets of older couples from Nappanee, Indiana. They will be staying with us for four full weeks as they volunteer their time and expertise at our local federal park – the Catoctin Mountain Park. This is the third year we have been honored to host this group. Our relationships started when the Catoctin Mountain Park was unable to house these visitors due to covid-19 restrictions back in 2021. We opened our Homestead House to them instead, which allowed them to still volunteer at the national park.
The amish are conscientious objectors, or, in other words, folks who are opposed to serving in the armed forces for moral or religous reasons. To be sure they are still serving their country, some amish choose to volunteer their time and talents to the nation in other ways. And so, these young men find themselves over 500 miles from home here at ThorpeWood. Because they stay here with us, the amish folks offer us several days of their time and skills when they aren’t at the park. We have a few big projects in mind – finishing our barn board interior in the homestead barn, redoing the walkway into the lodge, etc.
Our twelve visitors arrived by train late monday evening after some train repairs that delayed them by many hours. The next day, they were off to the park to begin service. That evening, our property manager Jeff, who takes care of them during their time at the farm, took them on a tour of the property and got to know his new helpers and friends. Jeff is always so delighted upon their arrival – he simply loves this new gang of young men, both for their volunteerism and friendship.